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Public funding for the arts is a hotly-debated topic, but let's look at where arts funding goes, what it accomplishes, and how we compare internationally. Check out Origin of Everything's take!: And to try Audible for 30 days visit or text "artassignment" to 500 500.

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The views discussed in this episode do not necessarily reflect the views of PBS or its member stations. All thoughts an opinions presenter here are from me, Sarah Green.

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You've heard it before: "My tax dollars are paying for what now‽" It's said about a wide range of public programs, but you've probably heard it at least once about art. It may have been photographs of unclothed men, graphic performance art, an image of a crucifix submerged in urine. You probably haven't heard complaints about art therapy for veterans, the honouring of jazz legends, after-school theatre programs in under served communities, mural projects on the Cheyenne River Lakota Reservation in South Dakota or the show that wouldn't have travelled to your town otherwise.

In the United States, the issue of whether art should be publicly funded tends to come up only when there's a controversy or when a new budget proposal is released. Defenders tend to focus on the relatively minuscule amount of spending it takes to run these programs in the U.S. And it's true. In 2018, funding the national endowment for the arts constituted .004% of the federal budget. But I'd like to take a look at what this kind of funding actually accomplishes, how other countries support the arts and how this kind of spending affects your life in ways you may not be aware of.

In 1965, U.S. president Lyndon Johnson signed a congressional act that declares that 'The arts and the humanities belong to all the people of the United States' and that they 'reflect the high place accorded by the American people to the nation's rich cultural heritage and to the fostering of mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups. The act established the national endowment for the arts and for the humanities as independent agencies of the federal government, both of which have been in operation since, despite routine threats to defund them.

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